Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade, NY
It’s a quilt show weekend at the congregation I serve and that has got me thinking: How many stitches does it take to make a quilt? Like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, we may never know but in one quilt I looked at there were over 50 in one 2″x2″ square. That quilt was over 13,000 square inches in total. That means a conservative guess is that quilt has over 160,000 hand-quilted stiches holding the layers together. Which, of course, doesn’t count the machined stitches holding the pieces themselves together or the border, the binding, or the back. How many stitches does this quilt have? A million—legitimately—would be a very reasonable guess. And every one of them stitched by hands of a thoughtful creator.
Quilts can teach us so many things. For starters, every quilt—from the smallest to the largest—started as something else: a pile of pieces. And that’s what makes it beautiful. On the outside they are beautiful, in the middle they are frayed—but no one but the creator gets to see that. Many are made from the exact same pattern block, but when it is rotated and laid out it looks different and new.
But the most important thing we can learn from quilts is that every one of them is carefully and beautifully made. The Psalmist praises God saying, “you knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (139:13b-14a).
Hundreds of people will journey hundreds of miles to see the quilts displayed at Hope. No kidding. They will do it because they appreciate the craft. They will do it because they like to marvel at the beauty. Some will do it for the chicken and biscuits lunch.
As I look at the beautiful quilts, I am reminded that I am no less wonderfully made. And I hope you will remember that as well. Like an artist pouring themself into their craft, God has knit you together and you are wonderful. One million stitches cannot compare to the unfathomable amount of love and attention that poured into you.